Taking baby steps to lose weight

The first three letters in the word “diet” are D-I-E, ironically. Unappealing as it may be, the intention to lose weight is the second-most-popular New Year’s resolution each year.

The first three letters in the word “diet” are D-I-E, ironically. Unappealing as it may be, the intention to lose weight is the second-most-popular New Year’s resolution each year.

We think it’s safe to assume that a big reason it tops lists year after year is because 75 percent of people give up after a month or two of making their resolutions.

Let this be the year you make good on your goal to lose weight or just get back into shape.

The process doesn’t have to be painful. As long as you make a consistent effort each day, even the small steps will add up.

Sarah on “The Power of Positive versus Negative Phrasing”

Resolutions — particularly resolutions related to losing weight — tend to be focused on the negative (stop eating like a cow; eliminate your spendthrift ways) rather than the positive. I don’t know about you, but when I tell myself I shouldn’t do something, my brain wants to do the opposite.

Isn’t it crazy how that sometimes works? This year, I am trying a new twist on the whole resolution thing. Instead of coming up with a list of “I won’t” statements, I have decided to compile a list of “I will” ones. Psychologically, wording a resolution a certain way can make a world of difference in how we respond. Here are some examples below. Take a few minutes and transform your negative resolutions into positive ones today.

• Instead of “I won’t eat junk food,” try “I will treat myself to one sweet snack every other day.”

• Instead of “I won’t ever skip a weekday workout,” try “I will do something active for at least 30 minutes a day between Monday and Friday.”

• Instead of “I won’t watch as much television,” try “I will watch television for, at most, one hour a day.”

Alicia on “Plan for Imperfection”

Trust me: One thing you can count on if you’re dieting is that you will have a weak moment. All too often, people feel that if they succumb to the siren call of a cookie (or three) that they have failed and might as well give up. That’s just crazy. Don’t let a moment or two of weakness derail your overall effort. Instead, have one or two things that you can do immediately after a weak moment to get yourself back on track. You might want to take a brisk 10-minute walk, or call a diet buddy who can talk you off the ledge.

Here are a few more ways to take baby steps toward losing weight or getting in shape in the coming year.

1. Slow Down . . . and Savour — Your brain doesn’t know your stomach is full until 20 minutes after it actually is. Rather than inhaling your food in record time, simply slow down. Eat half of what is on your plate, wait 10 minutes, and if you’re still hungry, eat half of what is left, and wait another 10 minutes. Slowing down and savoring your food is a pain-free way to eat less, which adds up to more pounds lost over time.

2. Switch to Water — Switching from soda to water can save the average person 360 calories a day, according to registered dietitian Kathleen Goodwin. It’s one small step that can add up to a lot of lost pounds.

3. Plan for Success — Where possible, remove temptation from your home. Throw out or give away sodas and high-calorie snacks. Make sure your pantry is stocked with 100-calorie snack packs. And take five minutes on Sunday night to cut up two vegetables and store the slices in small sealable sandwich bags, so healthy snacks will be ready for you when you’re hungry.

The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to yourlife(at)getbuttonedup.com

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